What To Do When NO Is Your Child’s Favourite Word

What do you do when your child only seems to know one word – NO?
What do you do when your child only seems to know one word – NO?

Have you ever found yourself chasing your child around the kitchen table trying to enforce your control and authority?!

Does it end in tears and regret?

The biggest reason your child says “no” is because they can.

That tiny little word said by a child puts a great deal of power into their hands.

So, if you think about it, a child saying ‘no’ is less of about them refusing to do something but more about them exercising control over a situation.

It’s a way of them asserting their independence – this is why they sometimes keep saying ‘no‘ even when you’re offering them something they like!

What can you do to get around the ‘no’ word without getting into some form of toxic power struggle with your child?

Very simple…just walk away and totally ignore the ‘NO’ coming from your child (unless there’s imminent danger of course).

No matter how long you have to wait, stay removed from the oppositional behaviour, give it no energy, no power.

As long as your child in the process of staying firm with their ‘no’, you need to make sure that you give them no response, no energy, and no attention.

Get on with your own thing, be patient, bide your time and you will probably find that in a short while your child will quietly do what you have asked.

If your child is seriously strong willed and defiant and continues to refuse to do what you have asked, let them know that you too can play the ‘no’ game although you would prefer not to.

Tell them you will be saying no to any requests they make (again the obvious exception would be if your child is doing something that puts themselves or someone else in danger) until they have done what you have asked them to do.

Once they say ‘yes’ to your requests then you can begin to reconnect with them by giving them back your time and attention.

Be firm, fair and consistent, it will pay huge dividends and will establish again the boundaries that every child needs to keep them feeling secure.

Never forget you are in charge!

One last thing, it’s easy to get into the spiral of negative responses so listen to your own language, if you spend all day repeating ‘No!/Stop it!/Don’t!/That’s not allowed!’ to your child, they stop listening.

Choose carefully the battles you fight and try hard to use positive language when you can.

Good luck and please let me know how you get on!

You can email me at lulu (at) mumfidential.com

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